WASHINGTON: The US State Department reassured the global community on Thursday of the United States’ ongoing commitment to preventing Afghanistan from serving as a base for terrorism.

“We remain committed to ensuring that Afghanistan can never again be a launching pad for terrorism,” the department’s spokesperson Matthew Miller said at a news briefing in Washington.

Responding to a question about Afghanistan’s re-emergence as a primary refuge for terrorist organisations, he said: “We continue to urge the Taliban to uphold all their counterterrorism obligations to the international community.”

He reiterated that the United States had clearly communicated to the Taliban that it’s their responsibility to ensure that “they give no safe haven to terrorists, whether it be Al Qaeda or ISIS-K or any other terrorist organisation”.

Miller also reassured US allies that Washington was closely watching the developments in Afgha­nistan and was ready to deal with any threat emerging from the region.

“We remain vigilant against the evolving threat of these terrorist groups, and our global coalition to defeat ISIS and the C5+1 help intensify our efforts to monitor terrorist threats from the region and prevent their ability to raise funds, travel, and spread propaganda,” he said.

C5+1 refers to a diplomatic platform involving the five Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgy­zstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) and the United States. It serves as a forum for discussing and addressing regional issues such as security, economic development, and cooperation.

“The United States remains vigilant against the evolving threat posed by terrorist groups, including ISIS-K, and has maintained an unwavering focus on terrorism since President Joe Biden took office three years ago,” Miller said.

The US, he said, was “working both unilaterally and with its partners to successfully disrupt threats across the globe and degrade ISIS”.

“We will continue to work to hold ISIS accountable for its actions and to prevent terrorist attacks against the United States and other Western countries,” Miller said.

Responding to another question about the US ambassador in Islamabad seeking to meet former prime minister Imran Khan at Adiala jail, he said he did not have an update on the ambassador’s activities. At a congressional hearing last week, some US lawmakers urged the ambassador to meet Imran Khan to see if he was not mistreated in the prison.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2024

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